When a new data science position opened up at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s best hospitals, Ron Johnson knew he wanted it. For years, he had been working there as a medical technologist—but now, he was ready for a change.
As a flexible, part-time program, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Coding Boot Camp gave Ron the opportunity to pursue new skills without jeopardizing his current role, providing him with the tools he needed to land his dream job.
Learn more about his experience and find out how a coding boot camp near you can set you up—like Ron—for a brighter future.
How it started
Ron has had his hands on computers for as long as he can remember. “They have always been a little bit of my life,” he recalled. In the “days of MS-DOS”—when mainframe computers ran the show—he took inspiration from his father. “Actually, my dad got into PCs, and then I started doing some basic programming.” But it wasn’t until much later, when back-end knowledge became necessary for his work, that programming became one of Ron’s true passions.
A career with twists and turns
Ron’s career path isn’t exactly linear. “I’ve been around the block in a lot of different cars at this point,” said Ron. He’s occupied many roles in and outside of the medical tech industry, and was working at the Cleveland Clinic when he decided it was time for a change.
A couple of decades earlier, when Ron began his career doing general lab work as a medical technologist, minimal programming was required. Upon returning to med tech many years later, Ron started noticing just how much of an asset a strong programming foundation could be in his industry. “I saw how much the computer field had changed and began to understand what kind of opportunities were available to me,” he shared.
Ron knew he wanted to take on more programming responsibilities, but wasn’t sure how to bridge the gap between his current set of programming skills and those required to work in a more software-based role.
Luckily, the perfect solution wasn’t far out of reach.
Off the bench and into the game
“Within a year of being back in med tech, I started to take a pretty serious look at how I could get off the bench,” Ron said. To get “off the bench” and into the game, he knew he’d need to upgrade his programming skills.
After reading about technology boot camps online, Ron decided to do some more research. Ultimately, he decided that, with a coding boot camp right around the corner at CWRU and remote learning a possibility, this was the perfect opportunity for him to update his skills without spending resources on a more in-depth education at a four-year university.
The work-life balance
The part-time coding boot camp at CWRU gave Ron both the structure and the freedom he needed to succeed.
With no formal software training, Ron had some impressive skills but was just shy of professional-level knowledge in critical IT programs like SQL. The boot camp’s coursework offered him a chance to both master the right software and set his own working schedule—giving Ron room to pursue new goals without jeopardizing his current position.
The part-time program “let me hang on to my job security,” Ron shared. “I didn’t have to jump into something at a high price without knowing what the final product would be.” Balancing his work schedule with his boot camp requirements was a challenge, but Ron said you have to just “block out a certain amount of time and go through the work.”
In the first month of the program, Ron was tasked with developing a user interface for an app he was working on—something he had never done before. “It was challenging, but there’s a visual component to building an interface that’s incredibly rewarding,” he said. A genuine passion for learning new skills was Ron’s key to success. “Having the drive to learn new skills and fix things when they break is important—because they will break,” he added with a smile. Ron said he would even occasionally rehearse his skills directly after class while the information was still fresh.
A new job for a new skill set
“When I don’t understand something, I need to know how it works—and now I do.” Ron was driven by an earnest desire to evolve his skills, but the boot camp also had a tangible impact on his career.
Directly after graduating, Ron began a new, full-time position at the Cleveland Clinic. As an associate data scientist, he focuses less on hardware and more on back-end data reporting. “Overall, the boot camp gave me the skill set and the confidence to point my career in the direction I’ve always wanted it to go.” With his newly sharpened skills, Ron landed a better paying job and opened up his career to an endless stream of possibilities.
Looking for a change? Explore programs in coding, data analytics, and cybersecurity through Case Western Reserve University Boot Camps.